Woman getting to work by bike.

Bike to Work, a Sustainable Culture Shift

There are many reasons to start riding a bike. If you’re reading this, you’re likely familiar with all of them: the health benefits, time saved, reduced carbon footprint, etc. It is the latter one that I want to focus on right now. Over the past month, a myriad of studies has revealed that we are undergoing the largest mass extinction event in the history of humanity. Climate change is the cause.

The rapid rate of urbanization, in Canada and around the world, puts cities at the forefront of this struggle and transportation is a key factor. In Canada, transportation accounts for almost a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. We need a radical redesign and reimagining of what urban centers can be to project ourselves into a sustainable future. Biking is a tried and true method for achieving this.

Reimagining our cities requires political will, citizen engagement and commitment to infrastructure, but it also requires a culture shift. For Bike Month, we have put together a list of five ways we at 8 80 Cities promote biking culture.

1. Relaxed Dress Code
While some can rock formal wear on an urban cruiser, the reality is most of us can’t, and certainly not every day. Having a relaxed dress code allows people to dress according to the elements and be well equipped to hit the road. Biking is active; it requires breathable and sometimes water-proof clothes.

2. Storage
Finding out that someone stole your bike after a long day of work is harsh enough to turn anyone off from biking for good. We have invested so much money and space for storing cars, certainly we can do the same for bikes. Indoor storage means your bike won’t be wet if it rains throughout the work day and it will need fewer repairs due to rust and wear and tear. At 401 Richmond we have plenty of bike storage both outside if you’re going to be in and out of the office, and indoors to store it for the day.

Outdoor bike storage. 401 Richmond.

Indoor bike storage. 401 Richmond.

3. Bike share membership
An office bike-share membership means that if someone gets a flat tire on their way into work, or their bike is down for a couple of days they won’t be forced to make other travel arrangements.

Our Summer Project Assistant, Niko Casuncad, using Bike Share in Toronto.

4. Support for advocacy  
Organizations like Cycle Toronto work to make the city a safer place to ride, and they also provide individual and group-plan memberships that help fund their work. Their membership offers discounts to bike shops all over the city. Offering free memberships to staff shows support for safe streets while providing a bit of help when their bikes need tune-up and repairs.

5. Shop talk
Cycling in the city is always changing. The thrill of that first jacket-free spring ride, the annoyance of construction in the summer or under-serviced bike lanes in the winter, and the beauty of fall colours on the trails… At 8 80 Cities we are often informally chatting about road conditions, new routes and tips for a more enjoyable ride. All of this forms part of the cycling ecosystem at our work.

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